Throwing a terra cotta lump in the center of his wheel, the potter gently but firmly pressed his hands into the spinning clay. As his nails and wrists caked with the mud and moisture, he patiently conformed the block into a pliable piece. Continually wetting his hand to keep the lump moist, he worked until it gradually yielded, softening to his desires.
When the the clay proved malleable, the potter pressed his fingertips together and plunged both hands onto the top of the bulk. Within moments an indention opened, engulfing both the potter’s hands and arms inside. Grabbing a soggy and well-used cloth, the artisan kept the inside wet as his hands penetrated and expanded the unformed vessel.
Moving one hand to the outside of the pot, the craftsman left his other hand inside, pulling upward gradually with each. As his hands worked in tandem, the pressure of his skilled fingertips thinned the walls of the clay, causing them to grow vertically. Repeatedly, he dampened and pulled, dampened and pulled, until the the pliable cylinder stretched into his desired purpose.
You too are “a chosen vessel unto” Christ (Acts 9:15).
Always unfinished, yet fully complete, our progress is His responsibility (Romans 8:23; Colossians 1:28; 1 Corinthians 1:30). Daily, He plunges His Hand within you, applying an equal and opposite force to the pressing that the world designed to crush you. Pulling your clay upward, His predetermined view is toward you as a “vessel for honor, sanctified, useful to the Master and prepared for every good work” (2 Timothy 2:21).
Unlike clay made from mud and sand, we can stiffen our hearts towards the Hand of our Master Craftsman; hardening our minds “by the deceitfulness of sin” (Hebrews 3:13) as we seek only our own whims and desires. Such a state ensures our clay no rest of soul because only faith brings the soul rest (Hebrews 3:17-19; 4:2). After all, “whatever is not of faith is sin” (Romans 14:23).
As we submit to His Hand however, we realize that in our yet incomplete state, we are already a bearer of Light (Matthew 5:14). Even while He is molding us into his earthen lanterns, He is also calling Light out of our darkness so that our hearts will shine with the light of the knowledge of the glory of God (2 Corinthians 4:6).
Although the greatness of this treasured Light is beyond measuring, He actively positions (He Who is Himself) the Light within us (His earthen vessels — 2 Corinthians 4:7). Always unfinished, yet fully complete, we see how the pressure of the world produces for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison (2 Corinthians 4:17). Hallelujah!
He is finished. We are not. May our eyes retain focus upon His Light within, rather than our lamps without. May it be Lord, may it be.